Three solutions that illustrate the future of transfer machines

The 2 x 24-position tool change system of Mikron MultiX transfers.

The new generation of transmissions has been redesigned to meet the demands of productivity, flexibility and low operating costs that meet the needs of customers in diversified sectors. Three examples? Mikron, Porta Solutions and Precitrame

by Giuseppe Costa

Born at the beginning of the last century as rigid units aimed at the production of lots of medium-sized pieces, especially for the automotive industry, the transfer machines, which essentially consist of different operating stations, gradually fully automatic, have been rethought over time and redefined for the purpose of performing all the necessary processes with extreme precision, high flexibility and high production speeds. Often designed and built around the component to be built, and therefore tailored to the application, modern transfers are easily reconfigurable and versatile and become indispensable, not only when productivity plays a crucial role, but also where it is necessary to compete on prices and quality.

Therefore, ready to be transformed according to the type of product to be treated, able to work on small, medium and large batches and on different materials and in increasingly diversified sectors, the transfers can now be easily adapted even if they start from modules and stations standardized work, ensuring a high degree of multifunctionality, sometimes comparable to the machining centers, from which they have also derived the qualities of flexibility, reliability and ergonomics. Anyone who today decides to invest in a transfer machine can therefore look for a machine that is suitable for their purpose, configurable and functional for their specific needs, yet adaptable over time to new features. The transfer manufacturers, on the other hand, have created very different solutions from each other also in terms of structure and concept, often very far from the first transfers, which confirms how this system, in order to produce perhaps more than any other machine, has implemented an evolutionary path , which has radically changed it in form, size, uses and ability to produce. The three examples shown here are intended to be merely a “cross-section” of a sector that knows how to understand and anticipate customer needs.

REVOLUTIONARY PLATFORM

The Swiss manufacturer of transfer machines and processing centers Mikron presents MultiX-C, flexible development of the MultiX family presented at EMO-2019.

The revolutionary MultiX-C transfer platform from Mikron Switzerland Agno AG Division Machining, a flexible further development of the MultiX family, is a solution that allows batch switching between completely different pieces in a few minutes. In fact, thanks to the MultiX-C, the transfer becomes more flexible than a machining center, as it can accommodate up to four different systems for attaching the workpiece to the machine, allowing batch change in no time. In a single transfer machine, it is now possible to machine completely different pieces and change the operation at will, for example from turning to 3- and 5-axis milling: all this simply by changing the CNC program. The work table is automatically orientable to present the fastening system appropriate to the workpiece; each workstation (up to 8 available) provides an automatic tool change, up to 24 positions, with a robot taking care of the automatic jaw change.

Up to 4 workpiece fixing systems on board the machine allow you to turn a rotary transmission into a 5-axis milling with a simple CNC command!

If the four workpiece attachment systems were not sufficient, the workpiece holding device for 5-axis machining provides a standardized mechanical interface that allows the jaws to be changed indefinitely, whether specific, with three concentric jaws or collet jaws. The high productivity of the micron transfer is then guaranteed by performing spindles, tool holders with shafts up to HSK-63, the ability to work simultaneously with three work units per. station, with a possible total of 17 work units simultaneously in action.

Among the key technical features of the revolutionary MultiX-C, which partially overturns the qualities of current transfers and proposes a new working method, is the availability of 6 or 8 stations, with the expected capacity of three processing units simultaneously in action for each station ( above, below and sideways). The transfer also has four piece holder systems on the machine, which are also very different from each other. Three types of automatic tool change, from 4 to 24 positions – Micron exclusivity on a transmission with six and more stations -. Finally, the machine is controlled by a FANUC 30 controlthatis Industry 4.0 ready, equipped with the best MiTool tool monitoring system in the world and with a user-friendly interface, all options that make it adaptable to any possible configuration.

The replaceable item fixing system of Mikron MultiX 5-axis transfers.

BORN TO RUN “

PORTACENTER of Porta Solutions, the 3 spindles proposed in 2005, after more than 15 years of series production, is now at 4.to generation, and the 5thto is in the planning phase.

Porta Solutions’ “workhorse” is still highly valued and despite the cost increases in the supply chain maintains a list price dating back to 2011, thanks to the optimization of mass production, which over the years has allowed to offset the cost of materials and labor with an “attack “price of 499,000 euros. In addition to the economic side, the PORTACENTER machines in 2021 had average delivery times of 120 days.

That “Race Edition“, A PORTACENTER conceptually identical to the basic version – with the same working fields and the same 3-spindle independent concept – but with” race “characteristics, which are basically translated into a new work module: these 3 spindles have” Turbo “inserted in terms of technical The work module is designed to compete in the transfer sector, where there are high batches and cycle time is the most important element to take into consideration.

PORTACENTER, Porta Solutions’ workhorse.

The Porta Solutions designers have redesigned from scratch what can be considered the machine’s main engine, analyzing in detail a work cycle of pieces, which, produced in large quantities, make it possible to reduce and accelerate the tool ‘no contact’ times. All this, as you can imagine, in favor of cycle time, which makes the solution more competitive even for large lots. In this historic moment, when the delivery times for transfer machines are close to two years, a PORTACENTER is in “Race Edition“, With delivery in 120 days, is a real” lifeline “for operators who normally use transfers, today in great difficulty precisely because of the estimated delivery times in 24 months. Not enough when the machine is equipped with SMED- systems, it allows rapid change, a factor that eliminates the inefficiencies generated by product changes.

To reduce cycle times, “Race Edition“Ensures more than twice the spindle speed to reduce cutting time; head spindle accelerations and braking have also been perfected, made more aggressive to reduce chip to chip. All this is combined with new software redesigned from scratch to maximize machine performance. To evaluate the potential of PORTACENTER “Race Edition“As an alternative to the classic transfer, it is possible to contact a supervisor by writing to: tutor.tecnico@portaproduction.com.

The development of PORTACENTER from 2005 onwards.

PRODUCE WITH PRECISION

Precitrame offers the market an extremely versatile, fast and productive rotary transfer machine with numerical control for high-precision machining..

By integrating multiple operations into the same equipment, Precitrame Machines solutions meet customers’ growing need for high-value complex components. All Precitrame solutions have no boundaries other than those imposed by customers and are built in collaboration with them. All phases of the project, until final acceptance, are validated with the customer until the requirements are fully met. Thanks to the presentation of the MTR312H, Precitrame today offers the market an extremely versatile, fast and productive numerically controlled rotary transfer machine, suitable for high-precision machining and for small pieces, especially for the watchmaking, medicine, electronics and automotive industries. The maximum size of the details that can be machined is enclosed in a 50 mm cube. The MTR312H consists of 12 stations that can be equipped modularly. It is also possible to leave the stations empty to optimize the solution investment.

MTR312H machines with CA61 automatic loader.

The UH160 can also accommodate a spindle with HSK-40 shaft, equipped with automatic tool changer. This option is ideal for having a solution that includes up to four tools on the same station or for faster serial changes. Each machining station can also be equipped with a C-axis for positioning or turning. Other options such as process-integrated dimensional measurement or power steering of the axes against tool wear or temperature fluctuations ensure the stability of the production process.

The positioning accuracy of the workpiece between all stations is 5 µm: this feature makes Precitrame Machines particularly suitable for mass production of demanding and precise pieces. The batch size adapted to this type of machine varies from 500 to several million pieces. Precitrame Machines solutions also come with an HMI that is specially developed to facilitate the use of the machines and thus increase their productivity. This software package, called PMM, Precitrame Machine Manager, offers a wealth of options for optimizing process and production monitoring. One of the latest innovations is the UA OPC interface, which makes it possible to integrate Precitrame Machines solutions into customers’ 4.0 production environment. © TECN’È

Quick-change spindle for Precitrame Machines MTR312H machines.

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